Explanation on Berta and Mina's AO Wild Cards; Sandgren Joins Tennessee; Bernstein Reaches Coffee Bowl Semis
I received an email overnight from Prue Ryan, media and public relations coordinator of Tennis Australia, regarding the Australian Open junior wild cards granted to ITF world No. 1 Daniel Berta of Sweden and No. 2 Gianni Mina of France. Her response, in its entirety, follows:
Just a quick explanation on the wildcards for Berta and Mina:
The World No.1 (Daniel Berta - SWE) and World No.2 (Gianni Mina - FRA) did not enter the Loy Yang Traralgon International or Australian Open Junior Championships prior to the entry deadline of December 15.
The main reason behind this was that starting in 2010, the ITF Junior Department require individual players to enter themselves directly into tournaments via their IPIN accounts, exactly how players enter on the Futures and Satellite circuit. In previous years, the relevant National Association were able to complete an entry form on behalf of the player and enter them into ITF Junior tournaments. Because of a communication breakdown between the Swedish Tennis Federation and French Tennis Federation, this information was not passed on to Daniel and Gianni.
After the original acceptance list was published by the ITF on December 16, both the Swedish Tennis Federation and French Tennis Federation (as well as Octagon Europe, that represent both players) contacted me informing me of the mistake that had been made in regards to Daniel and Gianni and immediately requested for main draw wildcards into the Australian Open Junior Championships. Gianni also asked for a main draw wildcard into the Loy Yang Traralgon International. Daniel Berta is only planning to play the AOJC.
Our national selectors, as well as Craig Tiley and Brent Larkham agreed to grant wildcards as follows:
French Tennis Federation, wildcards for Gianni Mina 1. Qualifying boys singles wildcard into the Loy Yang Traralgon International 2. Main Draw boys singles wildcard into the Australian Open Junior Championships
Swedish Tennis Federation, wildcard for Daniel Berta 1. Qualifying boys singles wildcard into the Australian Open Junior Championships.
Hope this clarifies the situation for you. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
It is actually generous of Tennis Australia to offer these wild cards, given that there will be two fewer Australian players getting an opportunity, but it does strengthen the boys field considerably. I wonder, and this is just idle speculation on my part, if an Australian might request a wild card to the French Junior championships this spring. Although Australia, France and the U.S. have reciprocal agreements for wild cards in the men's and women's events, there is no such arrangement in the juniors.
I also hope that the player who loses to Berta in the final round of qualifying somehow manages to get in as a lucky loser.
Thanks to reader Markus for pointing out that although Christina McHale appeared on the Tennis Australia main draw list dated January 5, she is showing as withdrawn on that day on the ITF list. McHale is entered in both the $25,000 Pro Circuit events in Florida the next two weeks.
In college tennis news, Tennessee posted a release today confirming that Tennys Sandgren is joining the Volunteers for the spring season. Sandgren joins his brother Davey, a senior, who had often said he hoped he would have a chance to play on the same team as his younger brother. Tennessee, already improved with the addition of freshman Rhyne Williams in the fall, is certainly one of the favorites now for the NCAA title, once Tennys has an opportunity to find his spot in the lineup. For the complete release, see utsports.com.
In the Grade 1 Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica, Michigan recruit Shaun Bernstein joins two other unseeded players in the boys semifinals, with No. 13 Juan Sebastian Gomez of Colombia, last week's Casablanca Cup finalist the only seed remaining. Bernstein plays unseeded (corrected: Olivo is No. 2 seed) Renzo Olivo of Argentina later tonight; Gomez plays Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela, also tonight.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico's Monica Puig has continued her excellent play in the new year, reaching the final at the Coffee Bowl, as she did the Casablanca Cup. Puig, the fifth seed, defeated top seed and Orange Bowl champion Gabriela Dabrowski 6-4 ,6-1 in the quarterfinals last night, and today downed No. 3 seed Tamara Curovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-7, 7-5. Puig's opponent in the final is An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium, the No. 6 seed. For complete results, see the tournament website.